2K to 10K 31 Plays in 31 Days 750 Words A Newbie's Guide to Publishing a room of one's own Aaron Sorkin Adam Lauver Aimee Mann Alden Jones Alexander Masters All Things Considered alphabetical order amazing Amazon Ang Lee Angels in America animation Ann Patchett Ann Voss Peterson Anne Lamott Anne R. Allen AOL Instant Messenger Apartment Therapy audio drama Austin Kleon author pages avalanche thinking baby bump Barnes & Noble basement cat Belgariad benonsensical Big Fish Bill Watterson Bird by Bird Blake Snyder blogging book porn books Books-a-Million Boston Boston Playwrights' Theatre Boston Theater Marathon Brain Pickings brainstorming Brandon Sanderson brevity Bridge Rep of Boston Buffy the Vampire Slayer BuzzFeed C.J. Redwine C.S. Lewis caffeine Calvin and Hobbes Carlo Gébler cat Catherine Lacey cats Charlie Jane Anders Cheryl Strayed Chris Baty Chuck Wendig clichés coffee collaborative writing Colson Whitehead comedy conflict copyeditor Corpse Bride Cracked.com Craig Fehrman Craig Mazin creative autobiography creative nonfiction creativity Curious George Cynthia Herron Daily Kick in the Pants Dante Alighieri David Daniel David Eddings David Farland David McRaney David Ogilvy David Rakoff day jobs Dean Wesley Smith Dear Sugar Deborah Martin delayed gratification depression description dialogue discipline divorce Dogma Dragon Age: Origins Dragonlance dreams Dungeons & Dragons East of Eden Eat Pray Love Edward Kelsey Moore Elise Capron Elmore Leonard Emerson College Emily Kaye Lazzaro endings epic Ernest Hemingway escalation ESP Esquire magazine extroverts F. Scott Fitzgerald Facebook fanfic Fangs and Clause fantasy Father's Day fear fear of the basement fellowships fiction authors Fiction500 first lines first novel flash fiction formal writing Freedom freewriting full-length plays fun. Game of Thrones Gandalf genre fiction GIgantic Sequins Go God Going Viral Google graffiti Grant Snider greeting cards Half Empty Hallmark Harper Voyager HarperCollins Harry Potter homeless people Hovey Players Hovey Summer Shorts Festival Howard Gardner Hugh Howey Hurricane Island ICanLegoThat ice cream trucks IFTTT iice cream trucks imposter syndrome Incidental Comics Independent Clause internal conflicts interviews introverts io9 Ira Glass Irish Famine italics J.A. Konrath J.K. Rowling J.R.R. Tolkien James H. Duncan James Thurber Jan Reymond Jane Vandenburgh Janice Hardy jeffjlin.com Jen Doll Joanna Penn John August John Coffee John Scalzi John Steinbeck Joss Whedon jury duty Kamala Nair Karen Russell Kevin J. Anderson Kevin Smith keyhole effect kids Kimberly Ann Southwick Kindle Singles Kristine Kathryn Rusch Kurt Vonnegut L. Ron Hubbard Lake Superior State University Le Morte d'Arthur Legos Letters of Note Letters to a Young Poet LIC One Act Festival Lifehacker.com Lilo and Stitch List of Banished Words Lists of Note literary fiction literature Llyod Alexander Lord of the Rings Luke Skywalker magical fantasy world Maine man cave manuscript factory Marc Maron Margaret Weis Mark Twain Mass Effect mass effect 3 Massacre Lane Massacre Pond Maurice Sendak Megan Stielstra microfiction Microsoft Word middle school momentum Mona Simpson money Monica Byrne monologues music musical NaNoWriMo Nathan Bransford National Novel Writing Month Native Americans Neil Gaiman Never Check E-Mail in the Morning New York Times No Plot? No Problem! nonfiction Nora Roberts note to self NPR Old Testament Olivia D'Ambrosio On Writing online resources Open Culture Oprah organization outlines outlining Outward Bound overused phrases pacing page turners pantser paper routes paradigm paradigm shift parapsychology parenthood parenting passion perfectionism Pete Docter Peter Corea picture books Piers Anthony Pixar planning playwrighting playwriting plot plotter podcast poetry pomodoro technique premonitions procrastination productivity prolific prose poem psychology publishing myths race Rachel Aaron Rachel Scheller Rainer Maria Rilke Ray Bradbury real estate rejection relationships Republic of Brown research revision reward systems Richard Feynman Robert Heinlein Romainmôtier Roni Loren rough drafts running Ryan Casey Samuel Park Save the Cat! Scarborough scheduling schizophrenia science fiction Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Scientology scrivener self-doubt self-publishing sequence Shadowrun Shakespeare shared sacrifice Sherwood Anderson shitty first drafts short films short plays short stories short-short stories singing single parent Sir Thomas Malory sketches smart phones smartphones Songs of Innocence and Experience soundtrack South Portland Spider-Man SPIN Magazine Starbucks steal like a writer Stephen King Stephen Marche stories submitting success! suicide Susan Sontag Tad Williams Tasslehoff Burrfoot teaching technology telekinesis ten-minute plays terribleminds thank you in advance The Atlantic Wire The Berenstain Bears The Boston Globe The Business Rusch The Chronicles of Narnia The Chronicles of Prydain The Creative Habit The Creative Penn The Divine Comedy The Formative Years The Game The Getaway Car The Girl in the Garden The Grinder The Interview The LIfe of Pi The Lighthouse The Manuscript Factory the new normal The New York Times The Old Reader The Other Side of the Story The Passive Voice The Rumpus Thelonious Monk thinking patterns This American Life Three-Minute Fiction time travel timed writing Tony Kushner Torch transcript Trinity College Tuesdays with Morrie Twitter Twyla Tharp undefined Vericon vignettes Virginia Woolf Voltron Wall Street Journal Whatever Where the WIld Things Are Wikipedia Wild William Blake William Shakespeare Winesburg Ohio Wool workaholic workflowy Working Writers world building Write or Die Writer... Interrupted writerly bedrooms writerly headspace writers writers block Writer's Digest Writer's Market writing writing early writing fast writing routines Written? Kitten! WTF Podcast You Are Not So Smart

Week One: Done!

The writing challenge for Week One is finished and posted!

It's a short play, and I think it turned out pretty well for a writing exercise.

Read! Comment! Love!

Will follow up later tonight or tomorrow with reflections on Week One and then the challenge for Week Two.


"Leave out the parts readers tend to skip." --Elmore Leonard

Happy Friday!

From Austin Kleon, 10 good points about writing and also an illustration.

From myself, that story/play/thing is slowly coming along -- will post it on here either tomorrow or Sunday, followed by Week Two's challenge (!) on Monday.


Writing advice from David Ogilvy

Okay, one more Lists of Note for you and then I'm done for today, I swear:

Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:


2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.

3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.


7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning—and then edit it.

Read the rest here.


"A genius is the one most like himself." --Thelonious Monk

In addition to Letters of Note, Lists of Note has some excellent "found" inspiration from time to time. A recent one, from Thelonious Monk:





Read the rest here.


Finding the Time

My second biggest hurdle to writing (the first being the repeated application of butt to chair) is finding the time. I work full time, Monday to Friday, and I also have a part-time job that claims between 10 and 14 hours of my weeknights and weekends. 

For this challenge, I resolved to get up an hour early each morning, and I can see already what an adjustment that's going to be. It is very, very difficult for me to go from work, to more work, and then straight to bed when I get home, which is exactly what I'd need to do to have a crazy productive morning of writing abandon. After a 14-hour day, I feel like I've earned my evening, even if it's already 10pm and I have another 14-day waiting for me tomorrow.

One good thing has already come out of this, though: I know that I can write longhand during my commute between the first job and the second. I don't know if this is true for all writerlies, but at least when starting something new, I work best with very small parameters and a short amount of time. This way, there's no space for me to become overwhelmed by setting, plot, character, meaning -- "We were sitting too close together" and all you have is 15 minutes to figure out what the next person says. Go!

By way of update to Week One, I have several small notebook pages of banter-like dialogue written out. I haven't decided yet whether I'm just getting out the dialogue now (I've never written a story that way, but it could be interesting) or if this is going to be a 10-minute play. Usually a decision like that would stop me from going further until I'd made a choice one way or the other, but this morning's hour is already up and all that's left now is my commute between jobs one and two. 

There's no time to think. Only to write.


Week One: "We were sitting too close together."

Hmm. Well.

This is from a page of notes taken during my psychology and literature classes.

"We were sitting too close together."

It was probably overheard, but I have no idea who said it, what the context was, or why I thought it was worth writing down.

What to do with this. Are these people who don't like each other, or who like each other too much...? Two people, perhaps, who have to make a conscious and constant effort to hide from the world how much they're drawn to each other?

Why would it matter if they were found out? Maybe they are with other people, or work together, or aren't "out" to the world?

I think maybe I could work with this...


Fall 2000

This semester, my first, was the toughest by far for me. Whether because I first came to Emerson College "undeclared" (I was perhaps one of three people in my class to do so -- Emersonians typically have no trouble declaring themselves) or because all Freshmen must endure this, my course load was all core requirements:

  • WP121 Research Writing
  • TH204 Theatre into Film
  • PS339 Psychology of Personality
  • LI123 Introduction to Literature

I had this sense that I either wanted to be a writer, or an actor, or maybe a playwright, or possibly an English teacher who also taught drama. So my required courses were at least kind of tailored to my interests, but I still found it tough going.

Interestingly, most of the marginalia I'll be mining from this time will be from Psychology of Personality, which was taught by the indomitable Peter Corea, who, after teaching psychology to dippy arts kids for nearly four decades, had been diagnosed with a terminal disease and had chosen to spend his final months doing what he always had: teaching.

Inspired, I think, by Tuesdays with Morrie (he referenced the book often), his class had less to do with Howard Gardner and more about the antics of Richard Feynman, how words can prevent true understanding, and how if we as a species are ever going to evolve, we have to focus not on unity, but harmony.

Ours was the last full semester he taught. Dr. Peter Corea died the following year. But my 19-year-old mind -- burning as it was with ideas, regrets, judgement, self doubt -- found inspiration in his class and also a much-needed outlet.


Welcome to the Unwritten Word!

Each week, I'll be digging through shoeboxes of old college notebooks, papers, and daily planners for all the unbearably brilliant ideas I never turned into stories. 

Of course, part of the fun here will be taking ideas that are, I suspect, heavy-handed, overwrought, and/or melodramatic and earnestly trying to turn them into something interesting. 

Some of these probably won't be very good, but I'll let you decide that. My only responsibility is to put pen to paper and to be truthful about the process.

The inspiration for this blog is part Letters of Note ("found" documents that have gained significance over time), part Austin Kleon (an artist who is generous about sharing his process and inspiration), and part Dean Wesley Smith (an indie author who recently challenged himself to write 100 stories in one year), mixed with several parts of my own need to strong-arm myself into writing regularly again. 

My home page outlines a bit more the challenge I have set for myself. If you're interested, here's some context about the guy who had all of these "interesting" ideas. Finally, if you'd like to contact me, you can do so here!

Page 1 ... 19 20 21 22 23